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How Voice Technology Has Transformed Online Search
By Harsha Kiran, SEO director, Seotribunal.com
It’s easy to use, offers fast results, and allows multitasking.
According to a survey conducted by HigherVisibility, 52.8 percent of mobile users use voice search while driving, 21.3 percent while doing other non-specified activities, and 7.5 percent as they watch TV.
The first voice recognition tool, IBM Shoebox, was introduced in 1961 and could only recognize 16 words and digits. Today, we have voice assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Echo which provide complete and correct answers to our queries with an accuracy rate of 90.6 percent and 87 percent respectively.
These companies keep on striving for the widespread use of voice technology by improving the functions of their smart speakers. For instance, Google Duplex can now help you to book a table in a restaurant.
There is no doubt that voice search will continue to disrupt online searches as more people get comfortable with using it. It’s estimated that by 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice-based.
Voice search has already brought a lot of changes affecting how businesses carry out their online marketing. Here are the top five impacts.
The Use Of Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are now trending because people tend to use more than 10 words when conducting a voice search. They ask questions in a natural and conversational way just like they tend to speak. Hence, marketers need to include long-tail keywords in the content to match it to the voice search queries.
There is no doubt that voice search will continue to disrupt online searches as more people get comfortable with using it
Increase In Local-Based Search
These searches have increased in number since most of the voice searches tend to be about directions to local businesses (like stores and restaurants), looking for information on upcoming events and activities in an area, and weather updates.
Local businesses need to optimize websites for local searches by including business contact information on all pages, adding location-based keywords in homepage title tag, and adjusting the content.
Also, register your business on Google My Business and other local directories to help Google easily understand and index your location.
Preference For Concise Answers
Since the people who use voice search want quick answers, typical voice search results are 29 words in length. In fact, the need for short but relevant answers written in simple English has led to the over-reliance on Google featured snippets to provide answers to voice searches.
These snippets always appear first on Google’s first search page with concise answers. To ensure that your content shows up in these snippets, you need to write long-form content in question form of above 2,000 words since an average voice search result is 2,312 words long.
Use Of Smart Devices
Considering that most of the voice-based searches take place on mobile devices, the growing usage of smart speakers is actually giving them a run for their money. It’s actually predicted that by 2020, 30 percent of voice searches will happen without the need of a screen.
And with the NPR survey showing that 65 percent of voice users who own Google Home or Amazon Echo cannot imagine living without smart speakers, you can see that their usage might even exceed projected expectations.
The Social Media Influence Is Now Clear
Unlike the ambiguity surrounding the influence of social media on SEO, when it comes to voice search content, Google prefers the one that is frequently shared. In fact, the typical voice search result has 1,119 Facebook shares and 44 tweets.
This shows that if you want to rank high for voice searches, you need to work hard at attaining as many shares on social media as possible.
Businesses that incorporate these voice-based changes in their marketing strategies could expect to take advantage of this trend as its adoption is still low. And as they continue to keep abreast of the future predictions, they will manage to stay on top of their game.